Bjorn Kuipers was a football player every referee would hate. The 16-year-old captain of his team couldn’t stop whining at the man in black about wrong decisions. Not once, but every match. As a player he was the complete opposite of the referee who got appointed for the 2014 Champions League final due to his cool and calm style of refereeing. After Leo Horn (1957 and 1962), Charles Corver (1978) and Dick Jol (2001) the 41-year-old Kuipers is only the fourth Dutch who was appointed to referee the final of the biggest club competition in Europe.
A substitution changed his career. At a certain moment during that short football career he got, to his surprise, substituted, he once told newspaper de Volkskrant. His dad Jan Kuipers, a referee and supermarket owner as well, who rarely whatched his son’s matches, summoned the coach to get his son of the pitch. His behaviour on the pitch was no longer tolerated by his dad and he told him to face the difficulties of being a referee. That was the start of a so far very succesfull refereeing career. In January 2014 Björn Kuipers from Dutch town Oldenzaal was told he would be one of the referees at the World Cup in Brazil and on the 7 May he got a message from UEFA referee boss Pierluigi Collina that he’ll be the referee of the 2014 Champions League final between Atletico and Real Madrid on 24 May in Estádio da Luz in Lisbon. “Being on the pitch during the Champions League final is the highest achievement in football for players and also for referees”, he told after the appointment. Kuipers will be assisted by Sander van Roekel, Erwin Zeinstra, Pol van Boekel and Richard Liesveld.
Bjorn Kuipers is very popular. The day he heared about his appointment for the World Cup he was in Dutch most popular tv show DWDD. Björn Kuipers officiated five years on the highest national level before he became a international referee in 2006. Only three years later he became an Uefa Elite Referee. 2013 was a great year for him with the Europa League final between Chelsea FC and Benfica in the Amsterdam Arena. Later that year he officiated the Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain. All these referee successes were not possible without the support of his wife, whom he married eleven years ago, and his two children. “I’m away from home a lot”, he told Helden Magazine. Kuipers even missed 6 of his daughter’s 8 birthdays because he was away from home for a football match. “But it never causes friction. I don’t know what should do without my wife.” Kuipers’ wife follows each and every match, but normally doesn’t go to the stadium. She went to the Super Cup in Monaco and the Europa League final in Amsterdam. “She and my coach Jaap Uilenberg are the first people I call after a match.” Kuipers’ two children, his 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son, are not old enough yet to be like their dad on the football pitch, constantly whinging at the referee. “My daughter doesn’t even care about football so much”, Kuipers once said. “But I think, although they do not show it publicly to others, that my children are very proud of their dad”.
Source: Dutch Referee